NDP breaking elections rules: Liberals

Manitoba Liberals are accusing the New Democrats of breaking the province's election law.
Manitoba Liberal Leader Jon Gerrard accused the NDP of flouting the election law and being arrogant. (Jeff De Booy/Canadian Press/Winnipeg Free Press)

Manitoba Liberals are accusing the New Democrats of breaking the province's election law.

Liberal Leader Jon Gerrard said an NDP announcement on Friday about a partnership with the Winnipeg Jets seems more like a government pronouncement than a campaign promise.

Gerrard said his party is filing a complaint with Elections Manitoba because the law forbids the government from making announcements within 90 days of an election.

"The NDP are so arrogant and indifferent to Manitobans that they think they can break the law and get away with it," Gerrard stated in a news release.

"What kind of lesson is Greg Selinger sending to inner city youth by breaking the law?"

The NDP and Mark Chipman, chair of True North Sports and Entertainment, outlined a $1-million after-school mentorship program that will see the NHL team help inner-city kids learn sports management and marketing skills.

The NDP said it is simply making a promise about a program that will take effect only if the party is re-elected Oct. 4.

However, the release states the "premier" is making the announcement, not the NDP leader.

Gerrard noted the NDP news release doesn't mention anything about re-election and refers to Selinger as having "announced a new partnership."

Gerrard said he is even more appalled that the NDP attempted "to pull Mark Chipman's good name through this."

"Mark Chipman has been a class act since he brought the Winnipeg Jets back home. The fact that the NDP would go so far as to drag his name through the mud through their lies and falsehoods is even worse," Gerrard's press release stated.

Test of new laws

University of Manitoba political analyst Paul Thomas said the timing of the announcement will test relatively new laws put in place about the restrictions on government advertising leading up to an election.

"If the framers of this legislation were asked the question: does this cross some line at least in terms of the intentions of the law? They would probably say yes," he said.

At a minimum, the NDP is violating the spirit of the act govering elections financing, Thomas added.

Asper School of Business CEO Rob Warren agreed, but said the NDP may be daring the other parties to complain about it.

"It's going to be difficult, if not impossible, for anybody in the opposition to question this because there's just so much tied up with the Jets' return to Winnipeg and how much they mean to the province in general," he said.